READER MIKE DISCUSSES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ART AND ART MARKET:
‘While I agree with Bamball’s sentiment here, I am not sure another “Fountain” is what is needed. The Art Market’s strategy is to simply accept and incorporate any anti Art Market art into Art Market art. When the Tate buys two cans of artist’s feces (without even knowing if there are feces, much less the artist’s feces inside) because of the “artistic relevance” of the gesture, then the problem is much more fundamentally systemic than simply being able to be overturned by the actions of an artist, no matter how significant the signifier.
Let the Art Market be.
The only way it will not be is if the buyers suddenly demand more in terms of concept, maturity, craft, and societal significance. That is not likely to happen any time soon, as there is too much money involved. Let the wealthy be played by the galleries who cater to them. Let the “collectors” be swooned with Artspeak and let those who cynically buy for hopes of higher resale value spend as they wish.
For others who want to make art relevant to society, they need to accept some conditions such as moderately successful material reward for their efforts and an engagement with their communities, which may lead to a larger audience and with practice and artistic maturity, a larger audience and more global issues. Artists don’t spring out of nothing fully formed as Athena from Zeus’ forehead. It takes a whole host of elements.
Start by challenging the institutions that produce artists. Develop and propose alternatives. Demand more from the galleries you frequent. As Rodrigo, write about the shows you see with an honest eye and a direct voice.
Also, determine what the purpose of art can and should be in our world. As a teacher, one of the most aggravating answers I have heard to this question is “Art is self-expression”, which is at best only partially true and in my honest opinion is a symptom of our self-absorbed, selfish, individualistic culture. If art is self-expression, then why would galleries exist? Why would we not all be artists making work for ourselves?
Historically, artists were much more relevant to their societies than they are today. Today, they are mocked for their absurd pretensions, disconnected from anything outside the Art Market, and self-deluded by thinking the Art Market actually deals with art.
Just leave it aside, get to work and make something that you feel is significant to your community and listen to the responses, take them to heart and get back to work.’
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